My grandmother was nineteen years old on August 26, 1920 when the 19th Amendment, giving all U.S. women the right to vote, was added to the United States Constitution. It had been 144 years since Abigail Adams in 1776 had asked her husband, John, to “remember the ladies” in the laws of our fledgling country, and 72 years since the Seneca Falls’ Declaration of Sentiments demanded that all women “have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of the United States.” The fight was long and the victory hard won. Women on the forefront of this movement suffered public ridicule, physical violence, and jail time.
Ninety-five years later many doors have opened to women, but there is still much to be done. Many women still earn less than men for doing the same job, with the gap widest for women of color. We still need the Paycheck Fairness Act to become law which gives women the legal tools they need to fight workplace discrimination. We are still the only developed country without paid leave of any kind, and when 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, many of them single parents struggling to provide for their families, we need to give them a raise.
I am not ashamed to admit that my dream is to stand on the National Mall, with my mother and my daughter, to witness Hillary Clinton sworn in as President of the United States. For when she takes the oath of office, not only will we be ending the 44-0 shutout at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we will have a champion in residence who has spent her lifetime fighting for the rights of women and families.